Category Archives: Amelia Old

Amelia Old, editor of “Pretty in the Queen City,” is a former international talent agent. She was named Best Creative Professional in the 2008 American Business Awards, hailed as the “business world’s own Oscars” by the New York Post. In 2010, Amelia closed her agency to focus on the development of Pretty in the Queen City, a national lifestyle blog. She’s an avid product researcher and writer, sharing her reviews and experiences through a variety of outlets including Shespeaks.com, typeF.com, BeautyStat.com, ehow.com and WCNC-Charlotte Today. She enjoys testing new products and sharing her opinions with the brands she works with and with her followers.

In addition to reviewing and writing about the latest products on the market, Amelia also assists non profit organizations with public relations, communication and ideation. She has experience with digital media, brand marketing, product development and product launches both in the U.S. and Internationally. In 2013, she was named Most Impactful Woman by Women with Know How Magazine.
Her secret pleasure? Photography. She has a record for driving her family crazy by taking photos of their every step (and then of course sharing those photos on every social media site known to man). Amelia is the mother of three children ages 15, 13 and 4. While she is a true Southern woman, her husband is English. Her English-Southern American family currently reside in Charlotte, NC where they are anxiously awaiting a television show offer…..the culture clash between a Southern household and English household? Now THAT is funny.

Karmin G3 Salon Pro Clipless Curling Iron (Review)

I have a lot of hair. A whole lot of hair. It’s naturally straight…um..really….I mean…wavy. I love having big luscious curls. I like to call it Victoria Secret hair. SEXY!! I’m a mom of three and let’s be realistic….I don’t have tons of time to spend trying to make my hair perfect. The only time I’ve EVER had VS hair was when someone else did it for me before a photo shoot.

Until NOW. I received the Karmin G3 Salon Pro Clipless Curling Iron recently and OH.MY.GOODNESS. I am ecstatic! My hair looks amazing. I have to be honest. I was a bit afraid of the clipless curling iron. The last one I tried was awful. Not just user error but the iron just wasn’t that great. The Karmin G3 is easy to use and I was able to curl my full head of hair in a really short amount of time. Like 20 minutes max! The G3 comes nicely packaged doesn’t it? It even comes with a product registration card to verify authenticity.

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It quickly heats up to 410F, has a heat resistant grip, a tapered barrel so you can create several types of curls, a 9 foot swivel cord and also comes with a 2 year warranty. The iron retails for $149.95 and can be found on the Karmin website HERE.  You can also find Karmin on Facebook.

Here’s my before/after. Before my makeup too.

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Please note that after curling my hair, I ran my fingers through the curls to get this look.

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Good thing I have a hot date with my husband tonight. I think he’s gonna like this!!

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If you are new to using a clipless iron and not sure how to use it, there are tons of videos on youtube that can teach you the dos and donts.

Have a favorite Karmin product? Please share!

 

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Disclosure: Review is based on the author’s review of product provided by Karmin. Additional compensation was not received. All opinions are solely those of the author.

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Katy Perry Debuts Four New Lash Styles with Eylure (Review)

“The saying goes that your eyes are the window to your soul, so why not have a bit of fun with the frames,” says Katy Perry.

And Katy has done just that with her new lash styles with Eylure, the leading British lash specialists. The new designs were handpicked personally by Katy who debuted her first collection of lashes in 2012.

The Lovely Lolita, Banging Beauty, Punk Princess and Feline Fierce are handmade with 100% natural hair which I believe may be a reason they don’t irritate my eyes like other lashes have in the past.  The lashes are reusable and come with adhesive. I also appreciate the fact they come with their own adhesive. In the past, I have had to purchase adhesive separately from the actual set of lashes.

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Already a fan of lashes from Katy Perry and Eylure, I was thrilled to check out the new designs. The lashes are easy to apply and stay strong through the day.

If I am going out, I swear by eyelashes. I love big and bold eyes paired with bold lips. Hey, a bit like Katy Perry! Right?

For those of you who have not used lashes in the past, please see how thick lashes can change your look completely. I chose to use the design Banging Beauty for this post.

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As you can see from the photo on the left, I have only applied one lash compared to wearing both in the photo to the right. Adding the red lips of course just completed my look.

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I am a firm believer that even if you don’t wear tons of makeup….mascara and lip gloss is a MUST. This makes you look alive and well. My eyes tend to get a very tired look due to staring at a computer all day. Many times I have thrown on a pair of lashes even without eye-shadow. Hey, I was in a hurry….a bit lazy….but still wanted to look like I wasn’t dead.

One thing I would like to say about this collection is that these lashes don’t make my eyes tired. You won’t see me in the car after a major event removing my Katy Perry lashes. And ladies….those of you who love the false lashes know what I am talking about. As soon as you get in the car….your poor other half sees you lose your heels, your earrings, your lashes….etc..etc…

While I may not wear lashes daily, I love the glamorous look……so….. don’t be surprised to see me wearing them at the soccer field.

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Since their conception in 1947, Eylure has remained at the forefront of creation and innovation in an exciting and ever-changing market, producing gorgeous original lashes that have been worn by iconic beauties like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Ingrid Bergman and Marlene Dietrich. Today Eylure continues to be the choice of the A-list performer, professional make-up artist and quality conscious consumer alike.

Interested in learning more about Eylure? Check them out on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

Compensation was not received for this review. All opinions are based on the author’s use of product provided by Eylure.

Beauty Designer, Petra Strand, is on a Mission!

You don’t have to go far for amazing designers now that Target has really upped their selling tactics. Adding designers that many people wouldn’t have access to has really created a frenzy among fashion and beauty lovers. A good frenzy! Just yesterday, they launched Missoni-having every woman I know rushing to nearby stores.

One of the top beauty designers they’ve added is make-up artist Petra Strand. With over 20 years experience as a makeup-artist, Petra started her make-up line,Pixi, over 10 years ago. From a London Boutique to Target, Petra is letting nothing hold her back from making her line available worldwide and to the every day woman.

PETRA STRAND’s mission? “To make women look themselves, only better.” With quite the following including stars such as Oprah Winfrey and Helena Christensen, Petra is definitely making a name for herself far beyond her first boutique in London. Petra took some time to share with us her inspiration, beauty tips and her views on true beauty.

What inspired you to create your cosmetic line?
As a makeup artist, I was looking for products with good-for-you ingredients that I would feel comfortable to use on myself. When I started Pixi 13 years ago, I could not find any cosmetics that were multipurpose, stay-put and waterproof with a definite skincare & treatment angle that I needed.I wanted to create products that were multipurpose to save time & to simplify makeup application and that also required no touch ups during the day; all products needed to last all day – eyes, cheeks, lips and bases.My makeup style has always been minimal fuss for maximum result (both short and long term results needed).I started a small boutique in London selling my own makeup and skincare products 12 years ago. I’ve been a makeup artist for more than 20 years now.

You have quite the A list following. Who is your favorite individual to work with?
My favorite people are always down to earth, full of fun and pros at what they do. I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of amazing women.As a general rule, I’ve found that the more famous or successful they are, the nicer they are too – and they have the same beauty issues that all of us have.I am a fan of ALL multitasking, strong and creative women out there. Real women with real issues – that’s who I’m creating products for.

What was the process to become a Target beauty designer? Who approached who and how excited were you to have your own line in a store that’s quite a household name?
I have always admired the way Target makes great design accessible to everybody. Even when I was living in London I knew about Target – when they contacted me for Pixi, I jumped at the chance to work with them. Pixi started 13 years ago in a small boutique in London that we still have today. I was so honored that Target even knew about Pixi, and I am thrilled that my brand is now available to women across the country.Pixi is very inclusive – for everybody – so to have a partner like Target is a dream come true for me.

What was your inspiration for your collection for Target?
I get inspiration from women all around me. Pixi is primarily about treatment color to wake up your skin and face. It’s also about simplifying and demystifying makeup for everyday women that are busy combining family and work life. Every product has a concept and solution behind it.

If I were to look into your makeup bag, what would I find?
A bunch of lab samples of new products that I am currently working on and testing.
Also right now you’d find:
–          Pixi Wakeup Concealer – I use this all over my face, especially where I’m red or dark
–          Pixi Succulent Lip Twin in Opal Orchid – this is the perfect nude glowy pink
–          Pixi Sheer Cheek Gel in Rosy – dab this on apples of cheeks and lips; it’s the perfect rosy colour for late summer
–          Pixi Eye Zone Brightener – to refresh my under eye makeup, soften lines and create subtle highlights; I also love to use it around the lips
–          Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen in BlackTulip – dot into lash line for an invisible lining effect that stays on all day
–          Pixi Lash Booster Mascara in Blackest Blue – makes my eyes look awake & bright and holds the curl all day and all night
–          Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler – a must for my super-straight lashes to open up my eyes

You spend your life helping others feel beautiful, how do you take care of yourself?
I don’t! As much as I love beautifying other people more than anything, I’m so impatient with my own makeup & beauty routine. For example, I never have spa facials because I can’t sit still long enough However, these are the things my grandma taught me that I try to stick to on a daily basis:
drink lots of water
try to walk for 30 minutes per day
smile!
try to have early dinner at 6
get as much sleep as you can when tired, wear minimal makeup – make sure to curl your lashes and stay away from powders. I like to use skin-like finishes like gels and creams – they add hydration and plumpness and a sheer translucent fresh color but they always look like natural skin.

What’s your favorite spa/salon service and where do you go to get it done?
I never go to salons – I’m too impatient and I don’t feel I have the time. However, my sister is a skin therapist, and I let her do one thing that saves me time in my day to day beauty routine. She dyes my lashes the deepest black blue colour – it saves me from having to wear mascara for a good 2-3 weeks. It’s great to do before a holiday. If I go to a spa on holiday, it’s always for a body massage or reflexology. It’s a real treat and a great way to move from work mood to holiday mood.

How do you define beauty?
I see & find beauty in everybody. Happy people are always the most beautiful. To me, looking beautiful is to look healthy, awake, fresh, radiant, happy & wholesome. I feel that people look their absolute best when they enhance their natural beauty, not trying to hide or change anything. “Looking like you, only better” is a Pixi motto. Confidence is very attractive too.

Any final words? I try and remind myself every day to live, love & laugh! As busy as we all are, it’s easy to forget to enjoy the moments and the small things in life.I also try and remember that this is my life and not a dress rehearsal – so I’d better enjoy it!!! 🙂

Balanced Makeup Artist, Napoleon Perdis

Australian makeup artist Napoleon Perdis launched a small makeup studio in 1992. In three short years, he created his own cosmetic line and quickly made a name for himself selling the cosmetics in 4,500 locations. Perdis was a special guest on Australia’s Next Top Model and even had his own reality show called Get Your Face On. In 2007, Perdis partnered with Target and is now one of their top beauty designers. He took time with us to share his inspiration, his love of beauty and even a few  tips along the way.

What inspired you to create your cosmetic line? It started with my mum. I distinctly remember being absolutely mesmerized by her beautification regime in the morning. When I was about 13, I started helping her get ready for evenings out with my father. It took some practice, but eventually I got the hang of it and soon enough I was doing makeup for all my family and friends.

Then my wife and I did makeup for brides while we were at university in Australia. I studied political science and business and I was on track to becoming an attorney, but I decided it wasn’t for me. My true passion was (and still is!) makeup. Makeup tells a story and empowers women to play with color, and that was what inspired me to become a makeup artist and start my own brand.

Share with us your experience on Australia’s Top Model. I loved doing Australia’s Next Top Model! It was a lot of fun working with the girls and I ended up using a couple in some of my campaigns. I remain close friends with many of the judges like fashion designer Alex Perry.

How do you balance a growing brand and home life? Time, patience and creativity have helped me balance the two as has having an incredibly supportive wife and family.

What was the process to become a Target beauty designer? Who approached who and how excited were you to have your own line in a store that’s quite a household name? Target approached me to become their first male makeup artist line in 2007, and we launched in 2008. I was initially attracted to Target because of their hugely successful design collaborations. We all witnessed the Missoni for Target debut — no one can resist a well-designed bargain!

With NP Set, it’s always been about high-speed glamour on the go. From day one, the collection has been about multi-purpose products, on-trend colors and plenty of skin-nourishing ingredients (and free of parabens).

What was your inspiration for your collection for Target? I was very much inspired by the desert resort town Palm Springs, California and that Cali-cool vibe. The So Cal girl likes chic yet effortless beauty so I emulated that lifestyle with no-fuss, easy-to-use products. You’ll also find that the packaging is decorated with stars and palm trees of Palm Springs.

You spend your life helping others feel beautiful, how do you take care of yourself? I take care of myself by spending time with my loved ones and relaxing. I’ll spend time at my Palm Springs home with my wife and four daughters. We’ll relax by the pool or go shopping at the local antique shops (I’m a serious antique shopper). I also love a good massage!

How do you define beauty? I think beauty comes from a woman being comfortable in her own skin. Sophia Loren said it best: “Beauty is how you feel inside and it reflect and your eyes. It is not something physical.”

Any final words? Always use primer! Not enough women do. The perks of primer are amazing: skin appears instantly smoother, foundation lasts the distance and hydrates your complexion.

Primer is a real NP Set specialty and we’ve got every skin concerned covered from redness and dull skin to prominent pores. I’ve just added two more to the lineup: Calming Pre-Foundation Primer to minimize redness and Brightening Pre-Foundation Primer to brighten up dull skin. The after-effects are truly amazing.

Honestly, a 3 day…..5 day….or even a 60 day juice fast wouldn't work for me and here's why.

A couple of months ago, I mentioned to the Mr. that we should do a juice fast along with colon hydrotherapy. He looked at me like I had lost my mind. A.) I wanted him to drink only juices with no food for X amount of days and B.) I was asking him to “get a tube stuck up his arse” as he put it. We never did the fast.

Fast forward to last week…..I had my first colon hydrotherapy session. It was uncomfortable but I did feel different after it was over. (I will share this experience on another blog post.) This same week, the Mr. sent me a text messaging telling me we HAD to do a juice fast…a 10 day one….10 DAYS….WHAT?!?!? He had spoken to a coworker who has lost ALOT of weight and who felt great. So, he felt the best thing to do was purchase the juicer and get to juicing.

We were both nervous yesterday preparing for this week’s fast. It’s only 3 days. Can’t be THAT bad. Last night I made a *practice* juice so we knew what we’d be drinking for the next 3 days. It was good. I like fresh juices. I used the green recipe from the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

Our fast began today. I’ve had fruit and veggie juices all day. But, a few things started to happen that has changed my mind about fasting. I am not a normal yo-yo dieter. You know….the ones who say….”I will start my  diet on Monday.”  I don’t work that way. My mind set is completely different. I am a former anorexic and just had a relapse last year. I was 112lbs which was alarmingly thin for my 5’6 body frame. This is the thing, I KNOW what is bad. I KNOW I shouldn’t starve myself. I KNOW being that thin is bad. But, left brain and right brain don’t always agree. If I start a diet, there’s a risk of becoming obsessed. That’s exactly what happened last year. That’s exactly what I am afraid of happening again.

Today’s fast, this one day, made me feel awful. I was absolutely exhausted, had a headache, a stomach ache from the juices and from no food….I really just felt bad. Do you know what it reminded me of? It reminded me of the way I felt when I was anorexic….a feeling that I don’t miss. I didn’t feel in control today as I so often felt when battling my eating disorder. That made it worse.

Last year during my relapse, I had a couple of people who really tried to help me thru my battle. In an email to one of them…I was trying to explain my day to day mindset, I said ” if I’m going to get better I must try……I half a roll with Harlow…..we have chicken alfredo…….I specifically add ingredients to my own bowl that are meant to boost metabolism…..crushed red pepper for example…..I eat it on LOTS of things. That and cayenne pepper……I eat my half of the roll and start to eat some of the alfredo…..5 bites……excruciating pain……it’s punishment for eating…..I knew I shouldn’t have……that’s what I get….the pain is unbelievable…..who knew eating could do that. I throw the rest of the food out. I don’t want any more. ”

In another paragraph I said, “it’s time for Harlow’s bath……carrying her up the stairs……makes me tired….I give her a bath…..I’m feeling dizzy and the pain in my stomach from eating is still there. My legs hurt….my ribs hurt so bad I could cry…..my hair comes out every time I run my hands through it……like a shedding dog…..I’m really really exhausted mentally and physically.”

I do not want to feel like the above and today was a reminder. Yes, I had juices and wasn’t starving myself completely but I still had those feelings. It took me to my past.

I don’t have to fast to be healthy. I can easily drink these juices, eat salads and still enjoy other foods I like. I spent 15 years not eating what I wanted….being afraid of gaining weight…..and then punishing myself if I did eat those foods. I want to enjoy the rest of my life. I don’t want my daily activities surrounded around what I eat.

Would I like to lose weight? YES but I rather do it by adding more exercise. If I start something like this…I risk the chance of not being able to stop. I am a mother to three wonderful children and I have an amazing significant other. Englishman in the QC and our kiddos depend on me. A simple 3 day fast could literally kill me. I had a stroke when I was very young……caused by my aneroxia. I can’t risk that again.

Readers of this may think I have failed…that I just didn’t want to fast.

Let me be clear, I am an expert at starving myself. I did it for many years and was VERY successful at losing the weight I wanted to lose and when I wanted to lose it. I do not want to be her anymore. Think of it this way, you probably wouldn’t ask a recovering alcoholic to keep alcohol in their cabinets would you? I must keep myself away from triggers. I know my triggers.  Some months…..years…I may be at a healthy weight…..like now…..noone would think I have a food problem by looking at me. I am not overweight but I am curvy. This could change from one trigger.

Do I think this will always be a struggle for me? Possibly. Maybe one day these thoughts won’t enter my mind. Who knows. But for now, a year ago is still fresh in my mind.

So, I will end today’s fast. But, I will eat tomorrow.

Marie's Dressing

I am pretty lucky that I have a family that loves salad. My kids usually request salad with their dinner every night. No, I’m not kidding. They REALLY love salad WITHOUT bribery. Their favorite dressing flavor? Ranch! We go thru 1-2 bottles of ranch dressing per week.

I am always looking for healthier options of dressings. I recently decided to give Marie’s a try.  With half the fat and calories, the creamy yogurt dressing seemed like a great idea. It was a winner with the kids too! My son said, and I quote, “this dressing makes my salad taste like we are at the Outback”. Hey, that’s a pretty good compliment if you ask me!

I found the Ranch dressing to be full of flavor. I couldn’t believe how fresh it taste. This dressing MUST be refrigerated immediately which helps with the freshness.

What does Marie’s say about their yogurt dressings?

  • Marie’s Creamy Yogurt Dressing has half the fat and calories of regular salad dressing, yet has the  same delicious homemade taste you’ve come to expect from Marie’s.
  • Marie’s Creamy Yogurt Dressing comes in 7 delicious varieties:  Blue Cheese, Feta Cheese, Ranch,  Parmesan Caesar, Honey Mustard, Thousand Island, and Coleslaw.
  • Marie’s Creamy Yogurt Dressing is packed cold to lock in homemade flavor and freshness and can only  be found in the refrigerated fresh produce section.
  • Marie’s uses no artificial colors or flavors, preservatives, or added MSG.  All Marie’s  Refrigerated Dressing (with the exception of Sesame Ginger) are Gluten Free.
  • Marie’s refrigerated salad dressing is comparable in cost to the premium salad dressings you find in the  grocery aisle.
  • It’s easy to use Marie’s Creamy Yogurt Dressing to create quick, tasty meals.  Try it to add flavor to  sandwiches, wraps, meat, as well as veggies and leafy greens.

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We also decided to give the Lemon Herb Vinaigrette a try. While it was delicious on our salads, we especially loved our chicken marinated in it.

What does Marie’s say about their Lemon Herb Vinaigrette?

  • Our vinaigrette has a fresh and flavorful burst of lemon blended with herbs and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
  • This is a great tasting marinade for chicken and fish.

National Rare Disease Day: Von Willebrand Disease

With National Rare Disease Day right around the corner, I thought I’d share how this day is important to our family. My (step) son was diagnosed with Von Willebrand’s Type 3, the most severe, when he was just a year old. After many stays in the hospital, the diagnosis brought relief and fear to his father and mother.  While they finally had answers to what their son was going thru, they had a new fear of what the future would hold.

According to the National Hemophilia Foundation, “Von Willebrand Disease is a bleeding disorder caused by a defect or deficiency of a blood clotting protein, called von Willebrand Factor. The disease is estimated to occur in 1% to 2% of the population.” This factor is critical to beginning stages of clotting.

“This glue-like protein, produced by the cells that line the blood vessel walls, interacts with blood cells called platelets to form a plug which prevents the blood from flowing at the site of injury.  People with von Willebrand Disease are unable to make this plug because they do not have enough von Willebrand Factor or their factor is abnormal. “

They say Von Willebrand’s is genetic but Joshua’s mother nor father have ever been diagnosed. In fact, when tested, all results show up negative. So, it’s unclear how and why this has affected him.   When I met Joshua’s father, I had no clue what Von Willebrand’s was. I had never heard of it. Joshua quickly taught me the ins and outs of the disease and what it means to care for himself.

This disease affects his life but we never let it become his life. While he’s not able to play contact sports for fear of injuries, which could be severe for him, he is a top soccer player who has the dream of going Pro. He’s well on his way, playing for two top teams and has recently joined the ODP (Olympic Development Program) to strengthen his skills.

If he gains too many bruises from a soccer game or even from playing outside, he has to be treated with the Von Willebrand Factor. While he’s not fond of treating, he’s fully capable of treating himself so we don’t have to call a nurse in. At 11 years old, he’s one brave young man and I can’t possibly describe how proud I am of him.

I know his father gets frightened sometimes when seeing a new bruise. He lived the early days with Joshua……when he could have easily died. When he was very close to dying. He lived the unknown…before they had answers. I also know how frightened I get. Having not dealt with this for Joshua’s entire life was scary for me. What did it mean? When helping him with his treatments would I hurt him? Was I doing it all right?  The first time I saw him stick himself with a needle, I cried.

An 11 year old boy has the strength and the courage to know what to do in a state of emergency to care for himself. I know adults that could never do what he does. When I told him I was writing this article, he just so happened to be treating himself that day. At his suggestion, I took a few photos of the process of a treatment.

Here’s a bruise Joshua got playing soccer. Seeing a bruise like this is a red flag that it’s time for a treatment. While it may be nothing, you have to be safe.

This is the factor we inject Joshua with. It’s AMAZING how quickly this can stop a bleed.

Mixing the medicine

Getting the needle in place. He’s pretty good at hitting his vein the first time!

In the factor goes…..

Will we always deal with this with Joshua? Yes. Unfortunately, we will. If he falls too hard…if he cuts himself…..if he bruises too big…..there’s always a fear of an internal bleed….we, as parents, will always worry. But, we will never allow Joshua to stop living. He can live a perfectly normal life. He may have to be a little more careful. He may have to avoid some activities other kids love doing like something as simple as jumping on a trampoline. But he focuses on what he CAN do.

I am so proud that, even as a young child, our son can teach others how to treat themselves. He can teach them how to live and how to never let your disease control your life. He shares his strength at a hemophilia summer camp and was recently asked to attend an infusion clinic to show other children they can treat themselves too!

So, National Rare Disease Day is important for our family. This day is about raising awareness worldwide of the experiences families face with rare diseases.  Experiences your own friends and family are facing. Experiences you may not even be aware of.